Tech companies: despite how we feel like we’re swimming in them now, they should still be considered a relatively new kind of company. Not until the late 80’s did technology begin making its way into the consumer mainstream and there’s no question this advancement and new emphasis of technology has done so much for all of us. Brick phones have now evolved to being personal pocket computers and communication devices, mainframes to Surface, robots are now flipping burgers and picking apples…
There’s a dark side to tech. Our early technology forefathers, whether it be Gates, Jobs, Ellison or Bezos, set the Darwinian tone for all of us to follow, “kill or be killed”. Understanding their impact and legacy in no way deafens us to the horror stories surrounding these fine gentlemen: humiliating their staff to the point of bringing them to tears in the pursuit of technology greatness and letting us know that this world (at least the software world) can be a truly ruthless one. Clearly this management method paid off financially and we all know the handful of millionaires and billionaires that endured.
But today the landscape is different. Most of the biggest brands in tech know that there is nowhere to hide in our online world with how you treat people. We’ve all had the crazy candidate or employee go “rogue” and post a nasty rant on Glassdoor, and with the proliferation of the Web comes even more outlets and platforms from which to pull back the curtain on some of the worst industry horror stories. Hopefully fewer people have many of these negative stories about their interview process or team culture, but the point is how you treat your employees and potential employees matters a lot. We’d argue it matters more than anything else when building your company and brand because word-of-mouth travels faster than wildfire, especially with social media to fuel it.
If there’s one area in the recruiting process where things fall apart, it’s during the interview process. I know interviewers don’t do this on purpose (who would?) but if a company doesn’t take recruiting and hiring well to be their highest priority, any number of work distractions will be in the way of a good candidate interview experience. Unfortunately, with all the tremendous work — investment of time, energy and money — that goes into finding a great candidate, a lot of companies blow it in the onsite interview and offer candidate process and lose out on the very best people, simply by not providing a good candidate experience.
You see, the very best people expect to be treated with respect for their time and their interest in your company. They won’t go for sitting in a conference room for an hour alone before the next interview. Nor do they like an 8 to 10 hour interview process that requires them to go home exhausted and unsure. They most certainly don’t like to go through all of this only to have the company drop the ball on follow up or take weeks to decide on an offer. A candidate’s time is incredibly valuable to them, and if that sentiment isn’t reciprocated by the company not only does the company lose out on a potential key talent, they look foolish and unprofessional at the same time. The early bird gets the worm–timing is often paramount to success and particularly in this employees’ market. How can we apply this understanding to improving the interview process?
Think of your interview process as Showtime! This is your chance to bring out your best and brightest employees to shine–your premier cast. Let your own talent play their part to attract new hires to your company through their knowledge, kindness, timeliness, and attention to detail. Make it a goal that anyone that interacts with your company through the interview process not only leaves impressed and wanting to work for you but starts thinking of their friends and colleagues that they might like to refer to you as well.
We know this isn’t easy, but we don’t do this because it’s easy–we recruit conscientiously because it’s our job and it works. Sure, customer emergencies happen, products crash, people get sick, but don’t let your recruitment loops stagnate. A serious hussle should be happening in the background to make sure that if something goes awry there is a backup plan.
Stay tuned for our next chapter, where get into what I think truly makes a great recruiter. This manifesto series has so far touched on building the best recruitment machine by implementing process and communication–but what about the recruiters themselves? What makes an effective recruiter when there are no existing degrees and few training courses available to our industry? Hint: it might have more to do with grit, curiosity and relationship skills than accumulated experience.